Exome sequencing was performed in three index cases with bone marrow failure and neurological dysfunction and whose parents are first-degree cousins. Homozygous truncating mutations were identified in ERCC6L2 in two of the individuals. Both of these mutations affect the subcellular localization and stability of ERCC6L2. We show here that knockdown of ERCC6L2 in human A549 cells significantly reduced their viability upon exposure to the DNA-damaging agents mitomycin C and Irofulven, but not etoposide and camptothecin, suggesting a role in nucleotide excision repair. ERCC6L2-knockdown cells also displayed H2AX phosphorylation, which significantly increased upon genotoxic stress, suggesting an early DNA-damage response. Intriguingly, ERCC6L2 was seen to translocate to the mitochondria and the nucleus in response to DNA damage, and ERCC6L2 knockdown induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). Treatment with the ROS scavenger N-acetyl cysteine attenuated the Irofulven-induced cytotoxicity in ERCC6L2-knockdown cells and abolished ERCCGL2 traffic to the mitochondria and nucleus in response to this DNA-damaging agent. Collectively, these observations identify a distinct bone-marrow-failure syndrome due to mutations in ERCC6L2, a gene implicated in DNA repair and mitochondrial function.
PMID: 24507776 [PubMed - in process]